The NBA Teams Most Likely to Relocate (Part 2)
Yesterday I wrote about the Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves and their chances of being the next NBA team to be relocated. Take a peak here. Let's take a look at the two most likely NBA teams that may suffer the first relocation since the Seattle Supersonics in 2008.
2. Sacramento Kings
Long gone are the days of Chris Webber tearing it up in Northern Cali. The Sacramento Kings continue to be one of the NBA teams most likely to relocate. and between 2006 and 2013 the Kings already had one foot out the door.
Sacramento Kings were so close to relocation to Anaheim in 2011 that the Anaheim Royals name was filed for trademark. It was only through miraculous corporate funding and local support that the team stayed in Sacramento.
More cities ready to host the next NBA franchise were swooping in to get the Kings relocated and Virginia Beach were making efforts to bring the franchise over which never eventuated.
A Seattle ownership group had even agreed to purchase the Kings and bring back the Seattle Supersonics brand but it only didn't go ahead because of last minute Sacramento investors matching the the Seattle offer.
In 2013 the NBA Board of Governors Relocation Committee voted 7-0 against relocating the Kings to Seattle. NBA owners then voted 22-8 against relocation which ended the Seattle relocation bid and a sale was made to a local ownership group instead.
Golden 1 Center which opened in 2016 has only helped to solidify Sacramento's position in the NBA but the Kings continue to be one of the NBA teams most likely to relocate and an ongoing target for potential cities.
1. New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans leads the list of NBA teams most likely to relocate. Making the playoffs helped the franchise in 2022 but prior to COVID, New Orleans ranked low for crowd capacity in the NBA:
The Pelicans are the second least valuable franchise in the NBA and they have a history of financial issues. At one stage the franchise was even owned by the league. New Orleans continues to struggle with NBA relevancy but as the franchise owner remains Gayle Bensen - who is deeply connected to New Orleans - the Pelicans have a fighting chance.
Bensen also owns the New Orleans Saints, and the Pelicans is a bit more of a side hustle to her NFL team. But how long is she willing to remain one of the lowest valued franchises that continues to lose money?
She may look to cash in on the franchise, because the biggest issue facing the New Orleans Pelicans is that the arena lease at Smoothie King Center finishes up at the end of 2024 meaning New Orleans is top of the list of NBA teams most likely to relocate.
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Wolfgang Sport started in 2017 as a way to connect my passion for American and British sports. Today it's evolved into a blockchain sports blog pushing the boundaries into the crypto world and embracing Web3 technologies.